Henry Fogel


Henry Fogel’s comments on Zubin Mehta, who is his most favorite conductor and co-worker.


(Jun 15, 1996) Domingo

Comment 1: As for the Carmen- Meier, (…)

Henry Fogel: Excuse me? What have you heard lately that would indicate this? I heard her Sieglinde in Berlin in April, and she was in absolutely splendid voice. In addition, most on this group who have commented on her performance of Isolde’s Narrative and Curse seemed to feel it was the highlight of James Levine’s 8 hour gala. And last winter she sang Berlioz’ “Mort de Cleopatre” in Chicago with a voice that was in absolutely perfect condition. Could you document this statement? Are you sure you didn’t just catch one off day? Or did you make the assumption that Wagnerian roles would do this to her voice — a perhaps logical assumption but not necessarily a correct one.

Comment 1: Well, I did hear Miss Meier on the Levine Gala here at the Met in April (yes I was there in person)! She was not bad, but she was no Isolde, and she is certainly no Wagnerian soprano. Unless, of course, you consider excessive fist-clenching, excessive teeth-baring and driven, pushed singing to be truly Wagnerian singing. Her “intensity”, as many people seem to say, seemed to me to be a struggle for her to be heard! Her voice is simply not large or powerful enough for this repertoire. Several other voices on this evening were larger and more ample of tone. I wonder if Mr. Henry Fogel, who works for the Chicago Symphony, might not be able to evaluate Miss Meier objectively. After all, the Music director of the CSO, Mr. Barenboim has favored Miss Meier for years in performance and on recordings (including such unlikely roles as Donna Elvira). Perhaps for this reason Mr. Fogel finds it to his advantage to promote Miss Meier.

Henry Fogel: I generally don’t even bother to respond to shit like this, but every once in a while I can’t control myself. Ms. Meier sings at most one concert per season in Chicago, and in some seasons none at all. I have identified myself regularly on this and other groups as the President (formerly Executive Director) of the CSO, just so that everyone would know it. I believe that my contributions here have been uninfluenced by that position, and that most readers would agree. I purposely never comment on artists who regularly appear with the CSO (such as Barenboim, Solti, etc.) Ms. Meier’s appearances are infrequent, and rarely do we depend upon her name to sell tickets. If you truly think that the success of the Chicago Symphony depends on Waltraud Meier’s occasional appearances, and if you also think that the handful of Chicago-area readers of this newsgroup who might be influenced to buy a ticket because of my remarks will have an impact on a $36 million per year budget, then you are even dumber than your posting makes you appear. I wrote what I did because I was an admirer of Ms. Meier’s singing before she started appeaing with the CSO, and because I have heard her recently (in Berlin and Bayreuth) and think that the charge on the original post, which is that she has shot her voice, is simply untrue. The number of other readers of this newsgroup who enthused over her performance in the Levine gala would imply if nothing else that my opinion is not unique to me.

JIWON: But then, I remember some forumites who never wanted to see Barenboim in their Chicago again pointing out how much he had wasted to prepare luxurious stage performances, which musical outcome was always far below standard. It was always Barenboim’s concerts for Waltraud Meier. All this information is in my old, broken computers. I really need to work again to find all those comments on Henry Fogel and Zubin Mehta, Barenboim and the CSO.


(March 1, 2002) Strange email campaign – BARENBOIM (long but bizarre!)

Henry Fogel: Jiwon is a female Korean french horn player who studied for a brief time at Northwestern University, and who had been harrassing Mr. Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by email — we actually had our attorney threaten her with legal action which stopped her from sending the emails to the CSO; she now apparently is sending them to the rest of the world. Mr. Barenboim would appear to be the object of a rather involved fantasy life of hers.


(April 9, 2002) Waltraud Meyer

Derrick Everett, aka another “perfect Wagnerite”: I have heard her recently at the Berlin Staatsoper in, among other roles, that of Sieglinde. (…) So not only is Ms. Meier able to cross fach with success, she is able to do so within the same performance! I do not know whether she has plans to attempt any of the Brünnhildes.

Beth: In recent interviews, Meier has stated that she will not take on all 3 Brunnhildes because she realizes they are not in her voice. Especially the Siegfried Brunnhilde, which lies very high. As for her fach, she has said (no surprise here) that she dismisses such categorizations, and sings what she feels suits her voice and abilities. I am so jealous of all the people (like Derrick) who got hear her sing Fricka and Sieglinde in one night! Cheers, Beth

Henry Fogel: I was at that same performance and can agree with your description 100%. I would doubt that she would sing any of the Brunnhilde roles except, perhaps, the Walkure one. Although she can and does sing some soprano roles with success, I think the Siegfried and Gotterdammerung Brunnhildes would not lie comfortably for her. There are many fine Sieglindes who did not essay the three Brunnhildes (I don’t believe Rysanek did, did she?)

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